Environmental/Toxic Tort Litigation

We have extensive experience litigating environmental exposure and contamination claims resulting from releases of toxic and hazardous substances.  We handle cases alleging property damage and personal injury damages, on both an individual and class action basis, arising from air pollution, soil contamination, and groundwater and surface water contamination.  We have litigated matters in both state and federal courts, in Texas and in other jurisdictions.  In addition to handling cases involving claims arising from current operations, we have significant experience in litigating historical contamination claims arising from decades-old operations, which present unique liability and evidentiary issues.

Representative Matters:

  • Represented a major international mining company in class action and a companion personal injury case arising from a smelter located near a small Oklahoma community that ceased operations 40 years ago.  The cases involved claims of air, soil and groundwater contamination and allegations of nuisance, trespass, and strict liability; the remedies sought included damages to real property and injunctive relief in the form of additional environmental remediation and a court established medical monitoring fund.
  • Served as co-lead trial counsel in successfully defending Colonial Pipeline Company in the first case to be tried arising from the rupture of four petroleum pipelines and the largest inland gasoline spill in U.S. history and a large fire. The plaintiffs claimed personal injuries and property damage, and sought millions in punitive damages.  Following a 12-week trial, a Jefferson County (Beaumont), Texas, jury rendered a unanimous verdict of no liability and causation on behalf of Colonial. These plaintiffs were part of a larger group of 17,000 persons who brought suit in more than 40 lawsuits filed in five counties, and the trial was selected by The National Law Journal as the nation’s top environmental/toxic tort defense victory in one of 15 cases in various categories receiving similar recognition.
  • Served as lead counsel in defending Colonial Pipeline Company against claims brought under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 for the recovery of approximately $10 million in costs incurred in cleaning up a large oil spill and for possible penalties.  The suit was brought by the United States on behalf of the Coast Guard against Colonial Pipeline, and the case was settled shortly before trial on a basis very favorable to our client.
  • Represented a major international mining company in a case filed by a public entity asserting property damage to a road system allegedly arising from the historical use of byproducts taken from a nearby smelter (that ceased operations decades before suit was filed) over a long period of time for the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges.  The case involved claims of soil contamination from arsenic, lead, and cadmium, and allegations of nuisance, trespass, and strict liability, and plaintiff sought damages and injunctive relief.  The mining company obtained a significant victory on dispositive motions and the case was subsequently resolved prior to trial.
  • Represented the owner of a large paper mill located on the Houston Ship Channel in six cases filed in three counties by approximately 500 workers who claimed exposure to asbestos and other toxic substances during the course of a construction project conducted on the site.
  • Served as lead counsel for a joint defense group of lending institutions in a class action brought on behalf of thousands of low income home purchasers who bought homes through a federally funded housing program and claimed that their homes were contaminated with lead due to alleged defective inspections; relief sought included monetary damages for diminution of fair market value, additional lead paint inspections, abatement, and medical monitoring.
  • Represented pipeline company in personal injury suits related to alleged exposure to benzene.

Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.